Cargo vessel targeted by Houthi missiles off Yemen, crew evacuated

Cargo vessel targeted by Houthi missiles off Yemen, crew evacuated

A Belize-flagged cargo vessel, the Rubymar, has been struck by missiles fired by the Houthi movement off the coast of Yemen, according to security firms. The ship was nearing the Bab al-Mandab Strait in the Gulf of Aden when it was hit, causing significant damage and water ingress.

The UK has condemned the attack as reckless, with allied naval vessels already at the scene providing assistance. The Rubymar was reportedly carrying hazardous fertilizer at the time of the incident.

This marks one of the most damaging attacks by the Iran-backed Houthi forces, underscoring ongoing tensions in the region despite Western efforts to deter such actions.

The crew of the Rubymar has been safely evacuated, with nearby military authorities remaining on-site to offer support. The ship's operators are assessing options for towing the vessel to safety.

Meanwhile, further incidents have been reported in the region, including an attack on a Greece-flagged, US-owned cargo ship, the Sea Champion, which was transporting grain from Argentina to Aden. Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea claimed responsibility for targeting both American and British vessels, including the Sea Champion and the Navis Fortuna, in the Gulf of Aden.

In response to the escalating threats, the US Central Command conducted airstrikes against multiple targets in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, including mobile anti-ship cruise missiles and unmanned underwater vessels.

The discovery that the Houthis are deploying sophisticated naval assets like unmanned surface vessels (USVs) and unmanned underwater vessels (UUVs) raises concerns about the evolving nature of maritime threats in the region.

In light of ongoing attacks, EU foreign ministers have approved a mission aimed at enhancing protection for international shipping in the Red Sea. The mission, involving ships from France, Germany, Italy, and Belgium, is expected to be operational in the coming weeks.

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